Ministry of Defence
MINDEF Cluster | Ministry of Defence

Transforming Dreams Into Purpose

In his role at MINDEF's National Service Policy Department, Poon Kay Chun Lexton has fulfilled his ambitions of serving the public, ensuring a steady flow of manpower for the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), embodying the true essence of purposeful public service.

Poon Kay Chun Lexton is a Manager in the National Service Policy Department at the Ministry of Defence. He holds a Bachelor of Social Sciences (Honours) from NUS and was awarded the Defence Merit Scholarship.

The era of relative peace we currently enjoy is a testament to the dedicated efforts of those who contribute to our nation’s defence. The Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) plays a pivotal role in enhancing Singapore's peace and security through deterrence and diplomacy. As a manager in MINDEF’s National Service (NS) Policy Department, Poon Kay Chun Lexton champions the well-being of our defence personnel with unwavering commitment.

Carving a Path of Purpose

For Lexton, public service holds deep personal significance. “I genuinely hold on to the belief that to be part of public service is to be part of a cause greater than yourself,” he expressed. His decision to join MINDEF was therefore a natural extension of this calling.

His fascination with MINDEF blossomed during his NS, particularly during his deployment to the Human Resources department. This firsthand experience offered invaluable insights into policy formulation and its real-world implementation.

“It was a unique experience that taught me to recognise the nuances of how policy intent is translated into on-the-ground realities,” said Lexton. “As I was nearing the end of NS, I remember thinking to myself that MINDEF/SAF was not all that bad a place to pursue a career in.”

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Poon Kay Chun Lexton

His trajectory within the organisation was further shaped by the support of the Defence Merit Scholarship, a testament to MINDEF's commitment to fostering talent for non-uniformed roles. The financial backing from the scholarship not only facilitated his academic pursuits but also instilled a sense of security, allowing him the freedom to explore various academic avenues.

“It gave me peace of mind to pursue whatever I wanted in university, knowing that I could count on the certainty of employment upon graduation.”

For Lexton, this support translated into a wealth of opportunities during his studies at the National University of Singapore. He pursued a diverse and enriching academic curriculum, culminating in a Bachelor of Social Sciences (Honours) with a major in Political Science, a second major in European Studies, and a minor in French Language Studies. These disciplines laid a robust foundation for his subsequent endeavours within MINDEF.

Shaping Policies, Enabling Progress

In his role within the National Service Policy Department, Lexton navigates policies vital to ensuring a robust manpower stream for the SAF while maintaining and strengthening public support for NS.

“A typical workday revolves around both ‘brain work’ and ‘heart work’ as I conduct policy reviews, address policy implementation issues, and manage complex cases,” he shared. “On various occasions, I analyse data as part of a policy review, put together a coherent and concise narrative and recommendations for senior management and prepare for presentations to said senior management. On other occasions, I work with various stakeholders to tackle issues that crop up in policy implementation and to look at how we can improve on existing processes.”

In his current capacity, Lexton transcends the confines of mere professional obligation, channelling his aspirations into tangible contributions toward a greater societal cause. One pivotal juncture in his journey underscores this ethos: his instrumental role in driving positive reform within the organisation.

“Within my first year, I worked closely with colleagues across the legal, technical and communications teams to successfully implement relaxed Exit Permit requirements for NSmen,” shared Lexton. “Today, NSmen only need to apply for an Exit Permit if they are leaving Singapore for one year or more, up from the previous six months or more.”

This strategic revision aimed not only to enhance convenience for NSmen traveling abroad but also to safeguard operational readiness imperatives.

“What gave me the greatest satisfaction was implementing the changes on schedule with minimal confusion on the ground, having thoroughly thought through all possible scenarios and pre-emptively putting out a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs),” he revealed.

“The range of work in MINDEF is so vast that you will always find yourself discovering new things. The most important thing is therefore to adopt an open attitude and embrace the opportunities that come your way to broaden your exposure and experience.” Poon Kay Chun Lexton

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Poon Kay Chun Lexton enjoys embracing new opportunities at MINDEF.

Forging a Future With MINDEF

MINDEF has undeniably opened doors to transformative opportunities for Lexton, who characterises the organisation as "collegial, fulfilling and a wonderful place to learn, even as you are reminded every day of MINDEF’s raison d’être."

From steering communications initiatives to fostering robust defence partnerships, refining National Service policies to nurturing talent within MINDEF's ranks, the spectrum of opportunities within the organisation is as vast as it is invigorating.

Yet, amidst this rich tapestry of possibilities, Lexton underscores the vast expanse of opportunities within MINDEF, urging individuals to approach each day with an unwavering openness to growth. “The range of work in MINDEF is so diverse that you will always find yourself discovering new things. The most important thing is therefore to adopt an open attitude and embrace the opportunities that come your way to broaden your exposure and experience.”

More importantly, Lexton highlights the importance of intertwining work with purpose. "Always look to understand how your work ties into MINDEF’s ultimate mission – it provides clarity to the purpose of our work and motivation to push through when the going gets tough.”